Social work is playing an increasingly important role in the solution of the diverse problems affecting present-day society. In the Department of Social Work, we base our efforts on the perspective of fundamental human rights and human dignity, and scientifically analyze the issues that people face in their daily lives, seeking ways to support the individual and create a better society in order to resolve those issues. We cultivate people who are able to adopt multifaceted perspectives on issues, and will spare no effort in the attempt to realize a society in which everyone can live with a sense of security.
In their four years of social work study, students will consider what types of social work are necessary in the social system, and will explore and attempt to put into practice increasingly diverse modes of support.
Graduates find employment based on a variety of qualifications, for example as social workers and psychiatric social workers, social welfare officers, special needs teachers, and government welfare officers. The mindset that emphasizes human relationships and the communication skills fostered by study in the Department of Social Work are also highly valued and find application in a wide range of contexts, for example in private enterprise and government service.
In the Academic Literacy course taken in the first semester of the first year, students study subjects that include approaches to reading the social work literature and methods of making presentations to report information to others. In the second semester, students take the Foundation Seminar. In this course, students read basic social work literature while also giving consideration to situations in the real world.
From the first year, in addition to studying the basics of social welfare, students engage in practical work and receive lectures from guest speakers working in NPOs and the field of international cooperation, deepening their understanding of the world of social work and enabling them to consider the diverse range of career options available to them in relation to their own interests. From the second year, the curriculum divides into two courses, which are directly related to students’ future careers.
The Course of Study in Social Work develops practical abilities as a social worker in students seeking to acquire national certification as social workers or psychiatric social workers.
As a unique initiative of the Meiji Gakuin Department of Social Work, before proceeding to specialized workshops, second-year students take a basic workshop in the Course of Study in Social Work that involves experiencing social work in the real world. This enables students to select areas that suit their own interests when they proceed to specialized workshops, choosing from among the fields of children, the elderly, the disabled, medicine, low-income earners, women, and mental health.
In the Course of Study in Welfare Development, students study welfare with a focus on improving society from a wide range of perspectives, and gain abilities that will enable them to succeed in diverse fields, both in Japan and internationally. Graduates will have cultivated a welfare perspective and a variety of skills, enabling them to perform outstandingly in many settings, including in private enterprise or government service, as teachers at special need schools, or in positions with NPOs and NGOs.
In the Course of Study in Welfare Development taken in the second year, students participate in field work programs. In the Global Cooperation Area, students are able to observe welfare issues and related initiatives in the field overseas, in general in Europe or Asia. In the Community Building Area, their activities include conducting surveys in marginal villages in Japan. And in the Social Innovation Area, they gain an understanding of the realities of the operation of social welfare organizations by visiting NPOs, NGOs, and other organizations. These experiences add depth to the seminars in which students participate in the third and fourth years.
In the spring semester following their university entry, students take Outline of Social Welfare; in the fall semester they take Understanding Social Work and Understanding Welfare Development. These focus on instilling an understanding of real-world social welfare. In tandem with this, students navigate their way toward the selection of a course of study for the second year and later. The Academic Literacy class in the spring semester and the Foundation Seminar in the fall semester provide support for later university study.
In the second year, students select either the Course of Study in Social Work or the Course of Study in Welfare Development. In the Course of Study in Social Work, students take workshop courses that involve real-life social work experience, and learn techniques for offering support and assistance. In the Course of Study in Welfare Development, students participate in a diverse range of field work programs in Japan and overseas.
In the third year, students give close consideration to their fields of personal interest and their future career paths, and pursue specialized studies in greater depth on that basis. Seminars are the main venue for this process. Students in the Course of Study in Social Work take part in specialized workshops while at the same time participating in seminars that support this study, writing reports on their workshop experiences and performing case research. Students in the Course of Study in Welfare Development engage in intensive reading of specialized literature and conduct specialized surveys and projects. In both courses of study, students give presentations on the outcomes of their research, engage in discussions with fellow members of the seminar groups, and complete a graduation thesis as the conclusion of their university study.
Approximately 30% of graduates of the Department of Social Work find employment in a wide range of areas of social welfare, including positions with social welfare-related offices dealing with the welfare of individuals including the elderly, the disabled, and children, regional Councils of Social Welfare, municipal welfare centers, government organizations such as child consultation centers, and hospital social work departments. Welfare-related departments are proliferating in companies in industries including finance and insurance, and graduates are increasingly finding employment in a range of private companies, including welfare companies. Some graduates also become government employees, work for NPOs, become educators (including teachers in special needs schools), or advance on to graduate school.